Tag Archive for new orleans

New Orleans Adventures: Daytime Eats, Drinks, and Sights

The Mississippi riverfront. Click twice for the largest view.

The Mississippi riverfront. Click twice for the largest view.

I bet you never thought I’d finish my New Orleans series! This is the fifth and final installment. Blog #1 was on sights to the north of Lake Pontchartrain, Blog #2 was on dining at night, and Blog #3 was on drinking at night. Blog #4 took us through the Honey Island Swamp. This time around, we’ll walk through the Garden district, stop for meals, beers, and streetcar rides, and finish the visit up with bourbon, breakfast, and one last Jackson Square view. Let’s go!

On our first morning in town, I wanted to take in some regular New Orleans street views. My husband wanted to shop and stop for several beers to recover from my fast pace. So we decided on Magazine St., where retail, food, and pretty houses are plentiful throughout the Central Business and Garden districts.

Heading out.

Heading out.

Surrey’s Café and Juice Bar (1418 Magazine St.) was our choice for breakfast because it’s highly recommended among locals on Yelp.

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It’s cash only, and it proves my theory that locals really like recommending restaurants in renovated old homes that don’t have air conditioning.

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That’s not to say breakfast was anything less than delicious! Breakfast dishes were affordable and tended toward a Californian/Mexican blend with items like migas and seafood scrambles.

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New Orleans’ Adventures: Honey Island Swamp Touring

The Gourmez happy in the swamp.

The Gourmez happy in the swamp.

This is the fourth entry in a series on my December New Orleans vacation. Lest you think this many entries is a few too many, just know New Orleans has always been high on my list of cities to visit, so I was pretty excited to finally do so! Blog #1 was on the north side of Lake Pontchartrain, Blog #2 was on dining at night in New Orleans, and Blog #3 was on drinking at night in New Orleans—and no, drinking need not be limited to the dark hours in this town.

The dock at Cajun Encounters.

The dock at Cajun Encounters.

For our next New Orleans adventure, we went 40 minutes east of the city to Slidell. Honey Island Swamp is 20 miles long, and a good portion of it is protected for wildlife conservation. A large number of boat tour companies operate within the protected section of the swamp, and we chose Cajun Encounters on a recommendation. It’s $25 for a day tour of the swamp, and with a tour that takes about 90 minutes, it’s well worth it. I thought it a deal in all honesty. They offer transportation from New Orleans for an extra $20 if you don’t have a car.

First view of the river. Click twice for the largest picture.

First view of the river. Click twice for the largest picture.

Who doesn’t love Spanish moss?

Who doesn’t love Spanish moss?

Our tour guide was super nice and pretty entertaining for a man with only a few months under his belt. Questions were always welcome. We went through three distinct areas of swamp. The first was similar to a standard riverbank but with plenty of Spanish moss, reddish leaves, and cypress outcroppings called knees.

Knees in the water.

Knees in the water.

This was December, which means winter and the least active time for the swamp’s wildlife, so we were cautioned we wouldn’t see a lot of it. We didn’t, but there were some creatures to encounter!

Turtles on the left.

Turtles on the left.

Plenty of snapping turtles lined the banks, and they’d dive into the water when we got close.

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Cocktails and Other Night Sights in New Orleans

Cocktails and Other Night Sights in New Orleans

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Last time, we covered the bevy of food I ate after dark in New Orleans. In this post, we’ll take a look at all the tantalizing libations Ben and I imbibed in the Big Easy in early December. You may question this claim by the end, but I swear we weren’t drinking at all times. Sometimes, we were walking. Walking off-kilter, but walking nonetheless.

It was Saturday evening when we arrived in New Orleans, and there were surprisingly few people around. We began our journey in the Central Business District.

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In short time, or rather, short time to me and my warped concept of a city block—we really should have taken a streetcar—we made it to the French Quarter. The first few western blocks of Decatur and Chartres Streets were all but abandoned, but we did not yet know we needed to continue on toward Jackson Square to find the crowds or head north a few blocks to Bourbon St. So when the modern, romantic vibe of Evangeline (329 Decatur St.) caught our eye, we stepped in for Drink #1.

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You’ll note their signature drink, the Ginger Mint Julep, advertised on the building behind the restaurant.

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It was refreshing, but not the sort of cocktail that keeps my attention for long. Too much club soda for that, and who knew what was waiting for me in a city known for its mixology? My husband went for one of our trusty standards, the Sazerac, and we were surprised by how sweet it was. Sugar is not something I associate with a Sazerac, but several bars served it that way in New Orleans. Simple syrup appears to be in the standard recipe for it, but I think bars outside of New Orleans may skimp on it—and I approve of that decision.
Evangeline on Urbanspoon

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